Patience is a Himalayan virtue. The rolling mountain region imbibes those inhabiting its racks with an imperturbability, which keeps them happily confined to the proximity of their indoor ‘Tandoors’ through a long and harsh winter.
Winters in the Himalayan villages are a period of stillness which is broken only on the odd sunny day when groups of women huddle over their laundry at community taps exchanging complaints regarding the weather or drinking habits. And men reluctantly plough their way, through a thick sheet of virgin snow, to replenish dwindling household supplies.
The streets are practically empty and punctuated with bands of young boys who recklessly ski down the inclines or train their slingshots at colourful birds that descend in search of feed, or aim at the signboards of establishments, which pull down their shutters at the close of the tourist season.
Cherubic young girls with snot-smeared red cheeks are seen playing in the snow and happily dodging the light-hearted snowflakes that are entrusted on them by majestic pine trees. Armed with shovels, teenaged boys perch themselves on rooftops while young ladies catch up on gossip as they rush to the store by the stream to recharge their mobile phones.
The whirring sound of a distant snow cutter echoes above the whistling wind and mangy dogs run across leafless cherry and apple trees in search of elusive morsels. Hovering clouds smear a shade of blue over the landscape as billowing smoke from a hundred chimneys signals the end of the day and beckons the young ones to safety and comfort.